Robredo signs pact with urban poor sector: Focus on social housing, justice for displaced families

One of the things that presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo will focus on if she wins the presidency in May 2022 is an “honest-to-goodness” empowerment of Filipinos belonging to the urban poor sector so they could participate in addressing the various issues they face, most especially in the housing sector.

Robredo signed the urban poor covenant with the Leni Urban Poor coalition at the Leni-Kiko Volunteer Center in Quezon City on Monday, Jan. 31.

The covenant covers assistance during the pandemic, safe and affordable housing, justice for families forced to resettle in far areas, enough funds for social housing, no more red tape in the housing industry.

“Gusto nating baguhin, na dapat nabibigyan tayo ng mas malaking boses para tayo ‘yung mag-desisyon para kung saan tutungo ‘yung ating pakikipaglaban. Yun po ang dahilan kung bakit noong nabubuhay pa ‘yung asawa ko, talagang pinaglaban natin ang People’s Plan (We want to change, that you should be given a big voice so we will decide where our fight is headed. That’s the reason why when my husband was still alive, we fought for the People’s Plan),” Robredo told the audience in the event.

Opposition senatorial bets aspirants Sonny Matula and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were also in attendance.

The Vice President was referring to her late husband and former Interior secretary Jesse Robredo, who worked with the urban poor on housing problems before his tragic death in August 2012.

The late DILG executive’s People’s Plan is reportedly comprised of representatives from illegal settlers to help identify areas where they can relocate and earn a living.

Robredo spoke familiarly with the urban poor leaders because unlike her husband, her work as an alternative lawyer for the poor brought her to far-flung provinces to provide legal aid.

READ: 'Robredo for President' bid backed by urban poor groups

“Gustong sabihin, kung ano yung ginagawa nyo dito, na kayo yung nagsasabi na ito ang gagawin namin, kailangan lang namin ng tulong, kailangan lang namin ng training, ganun po yung gagawin namin (What I want to say is whatever you were doing here, that you’re saying this is what you would do, we just need help, we just need training, that’s what we will do),” she added.

If she wins as president, Robredo promised that the urban poor sector is part of her decision-making “every step of the way” in housing reform.

The lady official encouraged them to look at the next elections as a “reset button” wherein a new government can start addressing the issues that beset the sector.

“Wag po tayong papayag na nagiging issue lang ‘yung housing tuwing eleksyon. Wag po tayong papayag na inaasikaso lang tayo tuwing kailangan ‘yung ating boto, pero pagkatapos ay hindi na tayo inaasikaso (Let us not allow that housing only becomes an issue during elections. Let us not allowed that we are just important when they need our votes, but they don’t take care of us after),” she said.

The covenant, which represents 1.8 million families, promised to rise from the pandemic by vaccinating those who want to be vaccinated, as well as create jobs for millions of Filipinos who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic.

It also recommended for Robredo to allocate a budget of at least P50-billion every year for social housing and basic services for the poor.